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Best of Ottawa

Insider’s Scoop: Forged in Fire exhibit at Bytown Museum

By Chris Lackner

Parliament Hill was Forged in Fire.

Ottawa’s fiery past is explored in a new, historic exhibition at the Bytown Museum, located alongside the Rideau Canal’s arresting locks just below our political hub.

Reconstruction of Centre Block of Parliament showing surviving Parliamentary Library, 1916. Bytown Museum.

Reconstruction of Centre Block of Parliament showing surviving Parliamentary Library, 1916. Bytown Museum.

On the 100th anniversary of the 1916 burning of Canada’s Parliament, explore the mystery of its destruction – and the secrets of its resurrection. Forged in Fire: The Building and Burning of Parliament includes unique artifacts and images, including rare photos of Parliament’s construction. Who says politics is boring? Our capital was forged in drama and intrigue.

We spoke to Grant M. Vogl, Collections and Exhibitions Manager, for an insider’s scoop:

Q: What will surprise visitors about this exhibit?

A: I think people will be surprised to learn about the fire of West Block in 1897. Most Canadians would know the story of the fire of 1916. However, I’m certain that for many visitors, reading about and seeing original photos of the fire of 1897 will be something new. I’m also very excited that visitors will get to see some very rare photographs of the construction of the original Parliament Buildings from 1861.

Construction of Parliament Buildings, (south side of Centre Block), Ottawa, 1861. By Elihu Spencer, courtesy of Bytown Museum.

Construction of Parliament Buildings (south side of Centre Block), Ottawa, 1861. By Elihu Spencer, courtesy of Bytown Museum.

Q: Why is this exhibit important?  
A: As we reach the 100th anniversary of any occasion, such a key milestone, events such as the fire of 1916 start to move out of memory and into the realm of history. There are no more living witnesses to this event; much the same as with the First World War. Therefore, it is very important to continue to tell these stories, introduce the history to today’s generation and also to connect or re-connect with the descendants of those who witnessed the fire first hand who may remember stories surrounding it.

Fire of West Block of Parliament, 1897. Bytown Museum.

Fire of West Block of Parliament, 1897. Bytown Museum.

Q: What are your favourite artifacts from the exhibition?
A: My favourite artifact in the exhibition is also one of the smallest. It is a very rare, 3” x 3” albumen print depicting Parliament Hill, then known as Barrack Hill, taken from the Ottawa River in 1857. For most visitors, the Parliament Buildings are timeless, so to see a photograph of “the Hill” without those iconic buildings and instead Lt. Col. By’s military barracks, will seem strange. But it will also inform visitors about the history of the site before being chosen as the seat of government.

Parliament Building at Ottawa, 1862, newsprint, Bytown Museum.

Parliament Building at Ottawa, 1862, newsprint, Bytown Museum.

The exhibit continues to Oct. 31, 2016.

Ottawa’s Best Patios

By Chris Lackner

Find your place in the sun. Our guide to Ottawa’s best patios covers your best bets for sun, suds, sangria, vino and vitamin D.

The Social patio in the ByWard Market's Clarendon Court. Courtesy: Ottawa Tourism.

The Social patio in the ByWard Market’s Clarendon Court. Courtesy: Ottawa Tourism.

ByWard Market

Clarendon Court: Secluded and cobblestone, its four restaurant patios feel European; discover the magic behind the shops on Sussex Drive, between George and York Streets, including spots like The Social and Courtyard Restaurant.

The Social: 537 Sussex Dr.

Courtyard Restaurant: 21 George St.

Earl of Sussex Pub: The best sun and sud combo in the market.

431 Sussex Dr.

Earl of Sussex patio.

Earl of Sussex patio.

The Highlander Pub: A place to people watch with eyes on the market’s pedestrian traffic.

115 Rideau St.

Cornerstone Bar and Grill: This market hotspot is a place to be seen.

92 Clarence St.

Murray Street: This leafy patio screams romance. And the charcuterie, cheese boards and wine list will only help matters.

110 Murray St.

Métropolitain Brasserie: Steps away from the Chateau Laurier and Parliament. Grab a table or an outdoor sofa.

700 Sussex Dr.

La Terrasse: Even the sunbeams feel more elegant at this seasonal patio.

1 Rideau St.

La Terrasse patio at Chateau Laurier. Courtesy Ottawa Tourism.

La Terrasse patio at Chateau Laurier. Courtesy Ottawa Tourism.

Elgin and Sparks Streets

D’Arcy McGee’s: Spot Ottawa’s who’s who at this upscale watering hole named after a Father of Confederation.

44 Sparks St.

Fox and Feather: Terrific topside patio with a bird’s-eye view of the bustling Elgin strip.

283 Elgin St.

Pancho Villa: Pancho’s margaritas, daiquiris, sangrias and pina coladas are as big in size as they are in flavour. It might not be Cancún, but close your eyes on the sunny patio and it will feel mighty close.

361 Elgin St.

Pancho Villa's patio.

Pancho Villa’s patio.

The Glebe

Feleena’s Mexican Cantina: Sangria, anyone?

742 Bank St.

Irene’s Pub: Discover the hidden courtyard patio at this live music hotspot.

885 Bank St.

Little Italy

Pub Italia: Ireland enjoys a bit of Italy’s sun.

434 Preston St.

Pub Italia patio.

Pub Italia patio.

Westboro/Hintonburg

Tennessy Willems: Small but sublime. Come for the pizza, stay for the sunshine.

1082 Wellington St W.

Churchills: P is for patio… and Public House.

356 Richmond Rd.

Water View

Canal Ritz patio on the Rideau Canal.

Canal Ritz patio on the Rideau Canal.

Dow’s Lake: Three restaurant patios overlook the lake’s busy birds and boaters. Choose your own adventure between Malone’s Lakeside Grill, Baja Grill and Lago.

1001 Queen Elizabeth Dr.

Canal Ritz: This classy canal-side gem is boat traffic central.

375 Queen Elizabeth Dr.

Mill Street Brew Pub: Located near the Canadian War Museum on LeBreton Flats, this historic gristmill turned brewpub is also the perfect stop along the Ottawa River bike path.

555 Wellington St. 

The 10 Best Taco Restaurants in Ottawa

By JESSICA NASRALLAH

Best Tacos Ottawa

Best Tacos in Ottawa: Stone Soup Foodworks dishes heavenly taco options in Ottawa (Photo: Jamie Kronnick Photography)

No longer just a fast-food option, tacos are becoming one of the trendiest eats in Canada’s culinary scene. Various types of tacos—from beef to tofu—can be found in restaurants across Ottawa. Some are serving up authentic recipes, while others are taking a more exotic and fusion-style approach to this Mexican delight. Here, we give you our picks for the top 10 taco restaurants in Ottawa.
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Ottawa Music Guide: Top 12 Ottawa Venues For Live Music

By MATÍAS MUÑOZ

Ottawa-Music-Venue

Ottawa Music Venues: Rich Aucoin gets up close with the crowd at Café Dekcuf (Photo: Ming Wu)

OTTAWA MUSIC VENUES: Babylon Nightclub
This Ottawa music venue in the city’s Centretown neighbourhood is home to artists of all kinds, showcasing hip hop groups one night and indie rockers the next. There’s plenty of room for dancing, but also lots of comfy seating for those who enjoy catching up with friends. See what’s on this week by clicking here.
• Babylon Nightclub, 317 Bank St., 613-594-0003, babylonclub.ca
Map and Reviews

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Ottawa Sandwich Guide: 10 Best Restaurants for Amazing Sandwiches

By KAILA MOREAU

Best-Cheap-Ottawa-Sandwich-Bread-Sons

#1 Best Cheap Ottawa Sandwich: Bread and Sons’ avocado sandwich

Ottawa has countless restaurants that serve sandwiches, of course, so what distinctive qualities makes one Ottawa sandwich more satisfying than another? With your tight timeline and budget in mind, we’ve done our homework and whittled the list down to the 10 best (and affordable!) Ottawa sandwiches. Whether you’re vegan, vegetarian, or a total omnivore, we can all break bread over these scrumptious sandwich options.

See the list of best affordable Ottawa sandwiches »

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Gluten-Free Ottawa Guide: 10 Capital Restaurants Dishing Gluten-Free Comfort Food

By ADELLE FARRELLY

Gluten-Free-Ottawa-Burger

Gluten-Free Ottawa Comfort Foods: The Works MEC Burger

Gluten-free Ottawa restaurants continue to grow in number and quality, but finding gluten-free comfort food in Ottawa still takes some digging. Well, we’ve done the work for you. For those with celiac or gluten sensitivity, here’s our list of some of the best gluten-free comfort foods available in restaurants across the city. Now you don’t have to stomach yet another salad while your dining companions dig into a generous portion of lasagna.

See the list of gluten-free Ottawa comfort foods »

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Best Bars in Ottawa: Winter Edition

Best Bars Ottawa—Winter

Best Winter Bars in Ottawa: the Earl of Sussex (Photo: paellaking)

When the temperature drops, Ottawa residents are not deterred: they bundle up and brave the elements in order to socialize and have fun. Visitors can do the same, using our list of the best bars in Ottawa to head to in winter. These are cozy places that will make you feel welcome and warm—no matter what the weather’s like outside.

See the list of the best winter bars in Ottawa »

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Best Bars in Ottawa’s Byward Market

Best Bars in Ottawa's Byward Market

Best Bars in Ottawa’s Byward Market: the disco balls spins at the Mercury Lounge (Photo: Greencolander)

Any local will tell you that the place for nightlife in Ottawa is Byward Market. The area is packed every weekend, and offers a huge diversity of bars, pubs, clubs and live music venues. For visitors looking for the best bars in Byward Market, our experts have put together this guide with options that will please any taste.

See the list of the best bars in Ottawa’s Byward Market »

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7 Most Romantic Hotels in Ottawa

Most Romantic Hotels in Ottawa

Most Romantic Hotels in Ottawa: Fairmont Château Laurier (Photo: tsaiproject)

The nation’s capital offers a surprisingly high number of seductive accommodations for the discerning traveller. The most romantic hotels in Ottawa range from historic landmarks with grandeur and gravitas to modern, boutique establishments with an “aphrodisiac surprise.” Our handy guide below will ensure that your next visit in Ottawa is steamy, dreamy and swoon-worthy.

 See the list of the most romantic hotels in Ottawa »

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Ottawa’s 8 Best Cheap Hotels and Accommodations

Cheap Hotels in Ottawa

Cheap Hotels in Ottawa: the Jail Hostel offers a memorable experience for a low price (Photo: LHOON)

A trip to Canada’s capital doesn’t have to break the bank. Ottawa offers loads of cheap hotels, hostels and other forms of accommodations for budget travellers, or for those who would simply prefer to spend their money elsewhere (we suggest one of these amazing new restaurants). Here, we present the eight best affordable places to stay in Ottawa.

See the list of Ottawa’s best cheap hotels and accommodations »

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Best New Restaurants in Ottawa 2012

Best New Restaurants in Ottawa

Best New Restaurants in Ottawa: a fine dish from 327 Wine Bar (Photo: Janna Glenn, Karma Creative Solutions)

New eateries are popping up all the time in the capital, but 2012 was particularly generous. The best new restaurants in Ottawa this year range from a Mexican-Asian fusion kitchen to a Somerset West hot spot serving buffalo pig ear sandwiches. Intrigued? You should be! Our local experts have combed the city, looking for dining experiences that will tempt and satisfy any visitor. The result is this list of the six best new restaurants in Ottawa.

See the list of the best new restaurants in Ottawa 2012 »

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19 Free Things to Do in Ottawa

Free Things to do in Ottawa

Free Things to do in Ottawa: visit “Maman” (Photo: pixelocity)

As Canada’s capital, Ottawa attracts visitors of all stripes—families, business travellers, tour groups—with diverse tastes. But if there’s one thing that can unite people like nothing else, it’s the urge to get something for nothing. Our local experts put their heads together and came up with this brilliant list of 19 free things to do in Ottawa that will be sure to keep you busy on bupkis.

See the list of free things to do in Ottawa »

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